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#DBF22 Women in business engagement a success

The Durban Business Fair’s Women Economic Empowerment engagement, hosted simultaneously on digital platforms and at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on 15 September, was not just a ‘talk shop’ but delved to the heart of current and available disruptive value chain opportunities for women in business.

The panel discussion was led by female entrepreneurs who have vast experience in the business world. These included Ayanda Njilo, Chief Operations Officer of Induduzo Bespoke Funerals, Lynette Ntuli, founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Innate Investment Solutions and Transnet Chief Procurement Officer, Thandi Sabelo.

The women’s webinar, which discussed opportunities presented by technological advancements in business, officially kick-started the 22nd Durban Business Fair (DBF) series of empowerment engagements to run until 27 September under the theme ‘Experience the journey of innovation’.

Sabelo said: “There is a time where you must diversify. Such disruptions are not always negative but presents change which needs to be embraced for positive outcomes.” She mentioned several opportunities available at Transnet that women can unlock and made training referrals to qualify for such. “Most of the company’s equipment uses high-tech components that women can supply as well as available port driving services opportunities. Women must not be afraid to take on such big projects.”

Speakers delved deeper into why digitally driven business models are crucial now and even post Covid-19 for female entrepreneurs to lead transformation. Njilo and Ntuli made practical examples of how the use of technology benefits their businesses.

Speaking on behalf of eThekwini Mayor Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda, Councillor Fawzia Peer mentioned that the Municipality has over the past 13 years consistently supported the development of women and outlined all the support the City provides.

Councillor Peer said the late struggle stalwart and former President Nelson Mandela understood the importance of gender equality when he said, “Freedom cannot be achieved unless women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression.”

Attendee Thulisile Mhlungu of Maua Facilitation Coaching said: “It’s amazing how one learns something new when these seminars are hosted. It’s true, we as women are fearful of big projects or new ventures, we think it is for our male counterparts but with all I’ve learnt here, I am ready to practically implement it and claim my space in business as a female.”

It’s full steam ahead for the DBF from 22 to 23 September when a discussion on crisis marketing and navigating a rapidly changing business landscape as a result of Covid-19 takes place. The two-day business engagement, to take place at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre as well as online, aims to ensure that small and medium businesses rise and thrive above current challenges.
The DBF business engagement on 23 September - to be also broadcast live on CNBC Africa (channel 410) will deliberate on ‘Crisis Marketing’- finding opportunities and trends amid Covid-19.

A panel of four industry role players including Thebe Ikalafeng, founder and CEO of Brand Leadership Group, Sylvester Chauke, founder and architect at DNA Brand Architects, award-winning marketing leader and serial entrepreneur, Nox Magwaza and Sphelele Mjadu, Head of Public Relations and Marketing at Unilever SA will lead the discussions.

Furthermore, the Youth Business Connect seminar will be held on 25 September under the topic of ‘Integrate to Innovate-not all is lost’. Successful young entrepreneurs will headline this session. Themba Nkosi, a property entrepreneur and music producer popularly known as DJ Euphonik, Mandisa Ntombela of Global Shaper and actress and entrepreneur Phindile Gwala will facilitate this session.

RSVP to 031 266 9937 to attend in person as space is limited due to Covid-19 social distancing regulations or use this link to attend virtually https://livestream.com/durbanicc/durbanbusinessfair or watch the seminars live on the DBF Facebook page @Durban Business Fair.

Nonduduzo.ngcongo@durban.gov.za

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